Even though the advent calendar and nativity scene have been put away, my son is still singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” I smile and think two things: Will he still be singing this in July? And, how do I keep that Christmas joy alive all year?
While the holidays lend themselves to daily talking about faith and what we believe, I wonder how can I help my family integrate faith all year round?
This past year we visited Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, a beautiful monastery in Atlanta’s own backyard! And through this experience, I became familiar with the idea of seven sacred pauses, seven prayer services that focus on slightly different subjects each service. And although my family does not have the discipline to spotlight our faith seven times a day, as a stay-at-home mom, I do have three natural pauses throughout the day: Mealtimes! During our mealtimes, using only five minutes, we are integrating our faith every day. Here are the simple ways we are doing it.
I love receiving Christmas cards! It’s the highlight of my season, but when the holidays are over, I used to
toss put away the beautiful family pictures. What a waste! Then it struck me, why can’t we enjoy the pictures all year round? Since most of our family and friends live far away, my son would never learn their names and faces unless we looked at them frequently. So, I added a hole punch, some string, and found a nail by our breakfast table. Every morning, we look at a family picture, talk about what makes that family special to us, and pray for them. All within 5 minutes.
Other ideas: Share a memory about that family or send them a quick text to let them know you are thinking of them.
Before lunch, we read a proverb a day. This was the easiest thing for me, as there are 31 chapters in Proverbs. I just look up the date, find a proverb we haven’t looked at yet and read it. Since my son is still a toddler, the explanations are simple. As he gets older, I see this changing to something a little more complex. But for now, even if he doesn’t always understand what the proverb means, he looks forward to it.
Other ideas: Read a quote or short biography that inspires your family.
Dinner time is dedicated to memorizing. We have a small chalkboard that stays on the table fwith whatever verse my son is learning in Sunday school. As a two-year-old, he’s memorized four verses, and the great thing is that I’ve memorized them, too. Like Grandma used to say, “It’s never too late to learn something new.”
Other ideas: Memorize a favorite poem or inspirational quote.
This year, since my son got a calendar from his grandma, which hangs by his bed, I am also reflecting with him about what we are grateful for that day. Although these are just simple, five-minute activities, they help remind me of what’s important: sharing my faith with my son and focusing on something outside myself. And, as my son grows, it will help him see what we value. Although I think the greatest example a parent can set is by their actions and how they live their life, this will hopefully complement our life choices. Not only do we talk about our faith, but we also live it out.
How do you share your values with your family?